Friday, April 22, 2011

Plant Unit Ideas

A Unit of Plants

We ended our unit on plants this week, so I thought I’d share some of the things we enjoyed doing….

We kicked off our unit with an in-school field trip from the Botanical Gardens about seeds and how plants grow from seeds.  We started an experiment with bean seeds to see if they would sprout without soil… 


We used the leveled readers from A to Z Reading to help us learn more about plants as we studied them.  The advanced group used “About Trees” level P….The on-level group used “Strange Plants” level K….and The strategic intervention group used “A Seed Grows” level G.  Each story came with a set of lesson plans as well as comprehension questions and tests.   

We used some cool You Tube videos of the Venus Fly Trap eating to zoom in on this strange carnivorous plant!  After watching several of the clips and seeing how the plant moves and grooves, we created a directed draw of the Venus Fly Trap and wrote two things we learned and one question we still had about this strange plant!

I also went to You Tube and found a cute movie on Eric Carle’s “The Tiny Seed”.  We watched the short film and then discussed things that helped the seed and things that hurt the seed.  A teammate had a cute Mailbox worksheet for the kids to cut and paste the items from the book into two groups…helpful and hurtful. 

We enjoyed using our knowledge to create the brace map from
She had her students using the computer to create the thinking maps....very cool!  I had them use things around the room and changed the way the map looked a little by having the kids recycle some tissue paper for their flower, green paper leaves, a pipe cleaner for the stem, and some yarn for the roots.  I had the kids make their own brackets and then created a paper for them to sort through the functions of each plant part. 

Froggy Friends Fun had a cute post on a hairy project which reminded me of the adorable Harrys my mom sent me last year to create with the we put together some Harry Heads to see if we could get some grass to grow.  I cut knee high hose into two pieces … added grass seed to the top for the hair…. added potting soil to create the rest of the head…shaping it into a cone shape…tied it off at the bottom for the roots and stored it in a clear cup….eyes and a mouth added with glue finish off the Harry’s Head and now the waiting starts…each Harry went home with the directions to keep water in the bottom of the cup and spritz the top of his head to keep the seeds moist.

After we put together the Harrys...the kids got to name them and write a First, Next, Then, Last story to tell the way they created their project.  They drew a picture to go along with their projects...I sent them home and kept one in the class.  The kids are now tasked with taking care of the Harrys at home and sending in digital pictures when their hair starts to grow.

Another book we started, but haven’t quite finished yet is…”Tops and Bottoms” by Janet Stevens.  We've spent some time with the vocabulary in this book and talking about synonyms and antonyms to go with the words...I was quite surprised that many did not know what the word "lazy" you can imagine....that was an interesting discussion!

We ended the week with online story tests I created using Google Docs…The kids used their leveled readers to complete the comprehension tests and their answers were recorded to my account.  I can print out the answers and grade the tests quickly.
….love this tool in Google Docs! …and the kids had fun using the computers to show what they know.

So it's back to the basal reader next week in time for "Dot and Jabber" and interestingly's about how a seed is carried to a new place to grow...what a mystery!  Wonder who thought to put the plant unit before this story???  That would be my team mates!  I'm very blessed to be working with an amazing group of ladies!



  1. With the exception of the Harrys, that sounds almost exactly what we did during our plant unit. We use the FOSS New Plants kit for materials, but as you know you can only observe for so long - sometimes they're just not growing yet! I love how many cute plant books there are out there (like The Tiny Seed) to tie in.

    Miss Griffin

  2. I love growing the seeds in the bags. We are doing that on Monday. I have never tried the grass in the hose, but I have always wanted to. I just run out of time to quickly!

  3. I'm starting plants next week so your blog today really came in handy. Thank you.


  4. The online story test is really neat! I had not thought of using Google Docs for something like that. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  5. Hi Heidi!

    Thanks for giving me some ink on your blog! I appreciate it!

  6. Could you tell me more about the online test you created in google docs? I'm not too familiar with google docs since I use, but I really like your idea of testing for comprehension. Thanks!

  7. Hi Karen...took me a minute to figure out what "giving you some ink" meant...dense is pretty much my middle name :)

    The test was created with the google doc have the option of creating a form. I usually create them as surveys for the high school band my son belongs to as they do not grade the answers...however, this one worked well for the testing. I've also used exam pro to create tests which I much prefer as it grades the tests and sends you an email of their responses and their grades...however, when they upgraded my computer at work, it was not a part of the program any longer...let me know if you need more info on the doc form was really quite simple :)

  8. Thank you for sharing about the google docs creator! I had never considered testing that way and love it!!

  9. You are awesome. Thanks for this. I had some of these ideas, but you've given me so much more.

    First in Maine